Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper)The human-rights advocate group Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) has had a successful start in their bid to “promote democracy, the rule of law, and human rights for all of the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)”, according to a published report on their website.
Sarah Leah Whitson, DAWN`s Executive Director, said “despite the challenges, we are already having an impact”.
DAWN was relaunched in September 2020, two years after the assassination of Founder, Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey. Whitson states, “we have gone from a little-known non-profit with two staff, to a prominent, respected organization of over a dozen experts pushing for change in the MENA region”.
According to the published timeline, some of their major achievements include getting lobbyist group Squire Patton Boggs to drop a contract with the Saudi government, achieving the release of wrongfully imprisoned activists and journalists and breaking the story of the U.S selling arms to Israel opposition group.
Another integral part of their 2021 campaign was “securing accountability” for the murder of founder Jamal Khashoggi. This included:
- Working with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to release a report about Jamal’s homicide.
- Responding to a dismissal request in the civil lawsuit against the “Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and 28 other top-ranking officials”.
- Setting up the Khashoggi Ban Working Group, whose role is to prevent MENA “abusers from traveling to the U.S.”
- Renaming the road outside the Saudi Arabia embassy in Washington D.C. to Jamal Khashoggi Way.
For 2022, DAWN “seeks damages and discovery to expose the role of MBS and his conspirators in the murder”, “to draft legislation to codify the Khashoggi Ban” and continue to provide a voice for “political exiles and activists”.
Some of next year’s aspirations will involve “influencing public opinion”. This looks set to include more media appearances. In 2021, DAWN was featured in many publications including The Guardian. The creation of online content will also be a focus, “Twitter is the main carrier of DAWN’s content”, along with the website, which is blocked in Saudi Arabia.
Whitson concluded her note with “The time is now to seize upon the openings for change we have helped create—both in the Middle East and North Africa“.